Previous studies had already linked the myth of vampirism with porphyria, a name that encompasses eight types of blood disorders.
And more specifically with one known as erythropoietic porphyria. Those who suffer from it see their skin become more sensitive to light, which may provoke a refusal to go outside during the daylight hours. In addition, these patients suffer from anemia, forcing them to undergo blood transfusions.
It is believed that in the past, some people with porphyria could drink animal blood, which gave rise to being thought to be vampires.
Now, a team of researchers at the Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has discovered a new genetic mutation that favors this symptom.
The authors of the study saw that a process produced as a synthesis of porphyrins, which is performed in the liver, is essential to produce hemoglobin. But, when such processes are altered, an excessive accumulation occurs in the cells of one of the components that give rise to hemoglobin, protoporphyrin IX. And when this protein is subjected to the action of sunlight, it causes burns and wounds on the skin, in addition to causing porphyria
Now, Boston researchers have found a new mutation in the CLPX gene that prevents the formation of hemoglobin, which leads to accumulation of protoporphyrin IX, and to the onset of porphyria. A mutation that could explain some of the alleged cases of vampirism that occurred in the past.